Saturday, April 28, 2012

Kitchen Updates (not decorated and before my things arrive)

Hey ya'll! How are you doing today?? I am trying to re-paint our house before all of our furniture arrives from the states. I have created an inspiration board to give you all an idea of the future "feel" of our kitchen when we finally complete  it.  Below is the picture of our home that we saw on the housing site. The quality of the next few pictures isn't great, but you get the idea.
This next picture is of my home right when we moved in. The walls were painted a purple/grey color with stenciling and, the other walls in the room were a bright buttery yellow. I do love the beam lights (that is a custom creation by my landlord) and the wooden counter tops which add a nice bit of rustic-ness to the ultra contemporary cabinets and floors. I typically go for more classic looking kitchens but am really enjoying the sleek contemporary look while I am in Germany. I will be adding vintage touches to soften things up a bit.

We removed the glass back-splash above the sink and will hopefully be installing a real tile back-splash soon. 
Like I mentioned before, I have none of my decorative things from home, no real furniture, nothing, so the picture below is by no means my "after"....just an "In the design process" picture. We painted the accent walls a deep greige (grey-beige) color and the same lighter greige we used for our stripes in the hall
*The darker greige is from Hornbach and the color number is:
In the states this color is most similar to Kelly Moore "Granite Cliff" KM3933-2
*The lighter color is also from Hornbach and is:
In the states this color is most similar to Kelly Moore "Jute" KM3940-1

Once again, I chose to paint neutral colors so I can decorate with warm deep colors in the Fall and Winter, and fresh light colors in the Spring and Summer.
Here is our un-decorated and Incomplete kitchen! I can't wait to add some special touches to warm the place up!

The plant balls above my oven are all over the place here in Europe...I love them! These can be found at most design shops but were purchased at Mobel Martin.
You can't tell a huge difference in the colors of grey unless you are standing in the room. This color has brown undertones instead of purple undertones so, it feels much warmer in here. As you can see, in the first few pictures, there isn't a ton of storage or prep space. We decided to get an island from Ikea. It actually matched our kitchen beautifully even though our kitchen is from Mobel Martin. We added some high gloss shelves to the corner near the stove because, if it's done right,  I just love the look of open shelving. We needed some temporary dishes (since my nice ones are on a boat somewhere in the Atlantic) so I got these at Mobel Martin for less than 1 Euro a piece. I found the gorgeous goblets below at Ikea for just a couple Euro each. The best part is, they look similar to a set I wanted from Barney's that cost over $125!! These give close to the same amount of bang, for a lot less buck. See the originals here.
The awesome Persian style horse was from my wonderful neighbors as a gift.
The metal espresso set was also a steal from Ikea and remind me of something from a swanky Italian coffee bar in Milano. 
I love my new wooden chippy crate, it was a gift from my aunt Pat. It was purchased from a gorgeous design shop in the town of Leigh "by the sea" in England. I adore it and think it would look great full of fruits and veggies. Below is a picture standing in the kitchen looking into our empty (newly painted hall).
I found the roman shade lying on the floor in our loft from the previous tenant....I dusted it off and hung it up. I plan on adding some kind of trim to make it look custom. I found out you can get this shade at Hornbach for 19 Euro. In the states, Target has a similar looking one that ties up and has a very classic and clean look for under $20.
I would like to find an antique metal tray to hang above my stove-top and magnet recipes on it. I was also considering getting an old wooden tray to put spices and recipes on. I guess I will get whatever I happen to stumble on first. I am thinking I may fill the shelves on my island with vintage crates and baskets or, maybe I'll do cake pedestals or my copper collection. I can hardly wait for all of our decorative things to come. I am dying to get this place feeling like home. 

Are you working on any major projects this weekend??

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Friday, April 27, 2012

Lovely Ol' England

Hey there! I recently went to England to visit our family and had the most spectacular time! I couldn't get over how beautiful and clean everything was! This trip was very short, only two days, so we did London and the small town of Leigh by the Sea. Next time, we will definitely be spending more time in London and also some time in the English Countryside. I took a zillion pictures and I wanted to share some of the many with you all. I have also included a few traveling tips. 
When to book:
Flying on Ryanair can be very, very inexpensive....unless you are flying on a holiday. Check the European holidays on a calender before you book. Make sure your trip (if you have this option that is) doesn't land during a European holiday. For example, Easter weekend is four days but the Easter holiday lasts two weeks. Do your research and don't book during this time if you want to save some major dough.

Right in Front of Buckingham Palace

This is a list of some must tries while you are staying in England:
- Chicken Tikka Masala
- Scones and clotted cream
- Fish and Chips...duh
- A Shandy (Pilsner and sparkling lemonade)
-Cadbury Splats and a Crunchy bar.
-Check out a market place. They have wonderful food, drinks and other fabulous finds!

How to dress: 
I don't know if it's because I am a Cali girl, but London fog is no joke..dress warm. Layers are the best way to go. As my wise cousin Maria said, (insert a beautiful British accent here) "It's better to dress warm and be able to take a big jacket off, than to freeze!" Thank you Maria!
England is very expensive right now, but you should definitely get some awesome British accessories while you are over there, or, you will stand out like a dopey dressed American like myself. Also, because accessories are lighter in weight, they don't always cost as much to lug back home. Here are a few of my new items!
I love my new over the shoulder travel bag with a long strap, makes traveling Europe so much easier (H&M)! It's the most perfect size. Bright scarves (also from H&M) are really popular along with tube scarves that loop around your neck. The shoes are from Deichmann in Germany (a super inexpensive shoe store) and are great for a both casual and nice outfits. I love my fun sunglasses and owl ring from an awesome accessory and clothing store in the UK called Monsoon, check it out if you are in the area. The sister store to Monsoon is called Accessorize. The lotion above is from an Indian market but has done wonders for my skin. I am going to change the subject on you really quick...If you have or are re-locating to Germany, the water here will wreak havoc on your skin and hair. For that I recommend:
The Philosophy Micro-delivery kit, and this all natural lotion that I bought from a street market in the UK. The site you can order this face cream from is
The Philosophy products can be purchased online, at many malls and the BX or PX. Joyco products are good for healing the water damaged hair.
It has worked wonderfully for me so I thought I would share. No, I am not getting paid to promote these  products, however, I should look into that..... Now back on topic!

After you have done the obvious touristy things, ask a local for a cool place to hang out in the evening, that's a little off the beaten path. My family and I had the most wonderful night at a jazz lounge!

Even if you only have a moment or two, check out a little bit of the countryside, and enjoy all the beautiful little details England has to offer.
Sorry for the cruddy picture quality in the last two pictures above. I snapped these pictures in the car, on my phone, as we were driving.
I am truly in love with the thatch roofs on many of the homes here in England, they are precious. I also love how some large branches and a lantern make this simple home above, look straight out of a fairy tale. I will try this one day, even if it's just on a shed. How brilliant!
I love how slightly creepy yet beautiful it looks when the tide is out...
We went and ate fish, chips and mushy peas in the little ritzy town of Leigh "by the sea". It was splendid! This town is bursting with gorgeous design and clothing stores and fabulous bakery's and coffee shops. 
Before you leave England, do take a picture with the pound over your face.
Whatever the reason for your your travels to London, you will LOVE it! For frugal travel ideas, check out Rick Steve's website...his site and books are full of great ideas on how to travel on a budget. 


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Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Hall Make-Over Part 1: Inspiration Board & Stripes

Guten Tag! Hello dear friends! I am loving settling into my new home and new life here in Europe. Everything is so wonderful and exciting for my little family right now! I am so blessed to have a great modern, with a rustic twist home to be living in for the next few years. I am even more blessed to have landlords that will let me paint and change the light fixtures...I can't tell you how many hours I spend dreaming about how I am going to make this place over. If you are renting a house for an extended period of time, try to find landlords that will let you make your space a home....Many landlords will negotiate paint if it's a neutral color or, if you offer to paint it back. Paint makes a place seem much cleaner and is the most inexpensive way to make your house a home.
The home is in pretty good shape however, it is in need of some serious TLC. It's been painted a lot, there are major gaps around the doors because there are no door frames (on the doors in the house that is) and there are some European quirks about the house that is going to take some getting used to (and I am not talking about the pretty, shabby chic kind of stuff). You can't tell by my pictures but this home needed a fresh coat of paint.......I have been painting for a couple days and have finally finished the downstairs! Woo Hoo! 
I went with neutral colors in my home simply because I like to change my color scheme every season. Well, let's be real, it's more like once a month. I use pops of color in my flower arrangements, pillows, drapes and other accents. 
I decided I was going to paint our hall with stripes because, it was a small area that I wouldn't get sick of having a pattern in. I like stripes that are pretty subtle so I went with a very soft greige (aka: a grey beige), and creamy white. 
I am repainting the doors so you won't see the wood on the edges, like in the photo above. 

The color you pick WILL come out darker once the white stripes are next to it so, go softer than you think you will need to. If you are in the states the greige this color is closest to is Jute by Kelly Moore. In Germany, this color was found at Hornbach, a giant, American friendly hardware store (if you are military they accept the VAT form).
The number of this color is F6.05.70
 Because I am so stoked about these stripes, I decided to put my focus on this room. I created the inspiration board above so I had a direction to go in when I am out shopping and for when my furniture finally arrives from the states. Right now, we have the ugliest loaner military furniture ever! We are fortunate to have it though. This is just an inspiration board to gather my ideas but, I know I am going to change it a ton. When painting stripes, measure the area you want to paint and divide it by the amount of stripes you want to get the size you should make your stripes. We made ours 9" and it's really the perfect size. Make sure to exclude moulding when doing this. Also if your walls are crooked like ours, just make the lines straight with a level, don't try to match the floor. 
 Tape your lines off and paint away! I recommend painting the lighter color as the base color, then painting the darker stripes over that. I didn't do this because I decided on painting the stripes at the last minute. 
Make sure to take the tape off when the paint is still wet or the paint may peel (especially with the "thick as plastic" German paint) when you take your tape off. 
Once all the tape is removed, touch up the lines with a small brush where the paint may have bled through.
I can't wait to finish decorating this area! I love that deep, pastels, warm, and cool colors will go with these rad stripes! 
I am so excited for my things to come, so I can get this area completed!!

If you are having a problem finding a solution to a space in your home, e-mail me for a quote and I can virtually design your space for ya!

Do any of you have stripes or any other patterns in your home? I would love to hear any tips or advice you may have!
Decorated pics to come soon!

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Sunday, April 22, 2012

Burlap Print Tutorial

Well, hello there! What do you all have planned for today? Any projects for your home or garden? I am writing and enjoying the little amount of sunshine that we have had here in Germany for a long time. I wanted to give you all a tutorial on how to make burlap prints! They are so unique looking and for the amount of time it takes to create one, it will make a lasting impact in your home and, they make lovely gifts. 
The first thing you are going to want to do is gather all your supplies. 
You will need:
- An iron
- Burlap (any burlap will do but your image will show up more on a lighter colored burlap)
- Freezer paper (this can be found at your local grocery store in the plastic bag and aluminum foil section)
Now that you have all your supplies, cut a piece of burlap down to a little bit bigger than the size of printer paper. You'll want to iron the burlap before you print it because, if there is water in your iron, it will make the ink bleed. 
Because the warp and weft of the fabric (the weave) is warped and uneven in burlap fabric, you'll want to pull the strings of the burlap to create a straight edge. The reason you are doing this is to create straight lines in the burlap so when it is printed your frayed edge will be even. Once you have a nice rectangle, cut off the frayed edges (you'll make the decorative frayed edges later). Place your burlap down on your ironing board first (or if like myself you don't have one, a towel on the floor will do), than lay the freezer paper on top of the burlap, shiny side down, to make the burlap stick to it. 
Cut it down to the exact size of printer paper or a tad smaller and your sheet of freezer paper/ burlap is now ready to go!
Place it in your printer burlap side down, or however you are supposed to feed it into your printer, pick an image and print. I get all my vintage images off of the graphics fairy. She has a wonderful selection of free vintage graphics. I edit mine in Picasa which is easier to use than Photoshop and completely free. You can adjust the size of your image, add writing etc. in Picasa to make your print exactly how you want it. 
Once your image is printed, tear some strands off the edges so it frays to the amount you would like (this is to add a bit of a distressed look, not to create the straight edge like before). I like to back my prints with cream colored paper, then mount it on other paper to really make it stand out before framing it!  
Good luck and please feel free to contact me with ANY questions.

The print above is at a guest house of a winery that my parents design team decorated. 

 To see more burlap prints click here.

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